Tara Mitra is a 47-year-old yoga therapist/ashtanga teacher who was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on October 8, 1974. Tara has many achievements. Mitra is a certified Yoga Therapist & skillful Ashtanga Teacher (1st & 2nd series) and has been a dedicated practitioner of yoga for over 18 years.
She studied with Johnny Smith, Tim Miller, R.Sharath Jois & R.Saraswathi Jois. Apprenticing in Ashtanga yoga for 6 years; Jorgen Christiansson (1.5 yrs) and R. Saraswathi Jois (the daughter of the founder of 𝑨𝒔𝒉𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒂)for 4 of those years in her very busy Mysore shala where Tara assisted thousands of students from all over the world. Tara has a special bond with Saraswathi and is one of the first few students authorized by her to teach.
Tara’s interest in yoga therapy (studying in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya & his son T.K.V. Desikachar in Chennai, India) began as a focus to help heal others from injury and imbalances within the body. She has helped several people understand their bodies while bringing back health and stability through yoga therapy, diet and lifestyle changes.
She has also studied Pranayama with Sri O.P. Tiwari, Philosophy with Prof. Nagaraja Rao, and Dr. Vigneshwar Bhat. Tara has been studying ritual, chanting and Vedic chanting for the last seven and a half years and is a long-time Vipassana Meditator. R. Saraswathi Jois (kpjayi Authorized), Saraswathi Vasudevan & Dr. Vigneshwar Bhat have given her blessings to share the teachings as taught to her through Parampara.
Tara’s curiosity for understanding the mind and body led her to study psychology (since 1993) and nutrition (since 1999). She is also a trained Chef, has worked with many healing modalities, and has recently spent 5 years living in Mysore, India in order to seek and learn pure knowledge directly from the source. Tara has studied classical Carnatic music with two of Mysore’s greatest teachers and she has and continues to study Ayurveda with Dr. R. Padmini.
Tara believes that to be a good teacher one needs to be a good student. Therefore, she continually expands her knowledge on the subjects of yoga, health, nutrition and healing through sound and other methods. She teaches in a traditional yet playful manner incorporating the teachings of her teachers.
Tara and her husband Dr. Rob closed their Gonstead Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Mysore in 2019 and now live in Sicily, Italy teaching locally as well as workshops around the globe.
Early Life –
Tara was born in 1974 under the named Tara Mitra Alampur. 4 years later her mother decided she should have a Canadian name so her name was changed to Teresa Fitzgerald (her grandfather’s name) Alampur (her father’s name). Tara returned to her birth name 7 years ago in honor of her Indian heritage. “The name Teresa just never fit” for her, says Tara.
“I was a long-distance runner for years from 9-15 seriously. Later I continued to run as a hobby, until I tore my ACL in half, in September 2011. I was told I would never get back into Padmasana (lotus pose). Which I managed to retrain gently into within a year. The surgeon was so shocked, he used me as an example for his patients.” Tara explains to us.
“I don’t do things half-fast. I am very clear that there are no shortcuts, so I don’t look for them especially when it comes to healing.” This is something that we see actively through Tara’s teachings, postings, and others’ reviews.
She was born in Toronto, Canada to a Canadian mother and Indian father from Hyderabad. Her parents divorced when she was two and soon her mother remarried. Life was not easy as her childhood was filled with torment from her stepfather, unfortunately. He was extremely controlling. Physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. Tara’s three sisters were what made the days brighter with games and cuddles.
“The one thing in my home that was never dull was dinner. My mother was an incredible cook and created dishes from all over the world. The only time I spent with my mom was in the kitchen. Her earliest memory was standing on a chair trying to stir the pasta sauce but not being able to reach the spoon or seeing over the edge of the pot. The kitchen brought glimpses of hope and creation. I loved writing menus, baking cakes, and the finished product of our creation and when guests arrived. This later led her to the restaurant industry and to become a Chef, Sommelier and continual study of Nutrition.” Tara expresses to us the Gastronomy of her family kitchen stays with her to date.
Tara Mitra left the house at a young age as there was a disagreement between Tara and her mother. She was only 15. She stayed with friends and was determined to go back to school. A seed of importance that her birth father took every opportunity he could on weekends to remind her of the value of education. As a man that grew up in a poor family in India, it was important to him. She continued to study, and studying is an important part of her life. Her first passion was photography. However, she did move on to become a Chef, Food & Beverage Manager and Sommelier through continual studies. Tara eventually began to practice yoga in 2004 to reduce the stress of her busy career.
She was given a yoga book by her mother when she was 17 years old and recalls attempting all the postures in the living room for days but didn’t practice seriously until 12 years later.
Tara began a career in hospitality and became a manager at 18 years old, working her way up to Multi-Unit Restaurant Director while teaching at the International Hospitality College in Vancouver and eventually to Management Consulting. She left the industry after 20 years as the lifestyle was taking more than it was bringing in. Mitra wanted more from life. Fearlessly she left her career to move to California. She jokes that yoga took over. She practiced to manage the stress from her daily life and her intense managerial career and one day the scales tipped and yoga took over.”
Tara is a born leader that started managing and teaching at 18 years old. She tells us “I have always been teaching, it’s just the subject matter that changes.”
“I had no idea what I wanted but I knew I wanted to be happy. Having a high-paying job that was loaded with stress, lots of travel and loads of gluttony (wine, eating out, loud environments) wasn’t fulfilling, so I kept searching until I found ways to bring in more peace and balance, not temporarily but actual rewiring to recreate my reality.
My husband and rescue pup moved to Italy in 2020 for 3 months but just bought a small piece of land to grow our own food, live off the land, and be closer to nature.”
Tara felt separated from her Indian heritage beside the stories her father would tell her about Krishna, the aunties and uncles and the Telugu songs her father would sing when she was young.
“I began to search further for my Indian roots taking trips to visit her family in Hyderabad, India (with her first trip in 1994).” She learned the family masala, family tree, stories, recipes, rituals and history. “I started practing yoga in 2004 to reduce the stress from my intense managerial job.”
After 5 years of taking every type of yoga class imaginable, she realized that style of yoga she liked all stemmed from ashtanga yoga. She went to Mysore, India to learn more for the first time in 2012.
When she returned to California, she found Johnny Smith in Northern California and began waking up at 3am, drive 45 minutes to Sebastopol to practice with him and chant before the Mysore class. In between that practice she went to meet Tim Miller.
She completed his (Tim Miller) Primary Series Training in 2014 and Second Series Training in 2016 in Encinitas, California. The 2016 training was during the off season in Mysore, India where she was living.
Previously Tara assisted Jorgen Christiansson in Los Angeles, California for just under two years and taught the evening Mysore program. This was in the years between 2013 to 2015.
Practicing with Saraswathi Jois was often frowned upon by some in the 𝑨𝒔𝒉𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒂 community and some even say that she was too easy of a teacher, but Tara had a very different experience. “Perhaps because we were close, she was tougher on me. She was invested in me. She shared so many things with me.” Tara tells us that most don’t know Saraswathi also studied under T. Krishnamacharya on two occasions and was the first woman to teach both men & women in a Mysore room and has a deep love for chanting. “She taught me many chants and we even learned a Bhajan (song) together. She taught me all she knew from personal habits, assisting, she even tested my ego, checked who I was hanging out with and shared recipes, especially during festivals. On occasion, we went to the temple together and she even allowed me to clean paint, and use the old puja room in her family home that was used for storage and filled with yoga mats at the time. Then Saraswathi would walk by to listen and see what I was chanting each night. Not saying anything just observing. It was really very special the years we had together. Truly a blessing.” Tara expresses.
“Those years were an incredible experience. Being able to watch and assisting hundreds of new students each month taught me so much about anatomy, human behavior, injury, recovery from injury, and modifying the practice. Very few schools could provide such deep knowledge about the human body. Literally, thousands of people came to practice during those years. Allowing me to practice adjusting and naturally, to understand body types, the possibilities and incapability’s of the human structure made me a much better teacher. The average teacher sees maybe 20 students regularly and if they are lucky and might have around another 60 students that visit on and off. This was a very different situation. To have access to such deep learning through direct experience and adjusting so many students around the world for months at a time. I feel very lucky to have apprenticed and taught alongside my teacher in such a busy environment for so many years.”
“Some days we taught for 5-6 hours straight but we always had good Indian coffee (although I was trying not to drink coffee but when I told Saraswathiji that I didn’t drink coffee she looked and me and said, “yes you do” and that was that) I was very close to Saraswathiji and she taught me all that she found important. First it was postural, adjustments, then tests to my ego, testing if I would fly across the room from lifting a guy from backbends that was 4 times my size and laughing when I almost did. Then it went to family recipes, traditions during festival, sari shopping, temple days and even tricks to keep negativity off as I taught alongside her yoga Shala in Mysore, India.”
Saraswathi taught Tara Mitra her favourite chants (Maha Ganesha Pancharatnam, Lingastakam, Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam and several śanti mantras) and they even learned a song together about Adishesha. Tara would help organize the kpjayi (summer) and Manasa (winter) shalas during those years as well. For fun, Tara calculated that she assisted R. Saraswathi Jois for over 2500 hours during her apprenticed and as an assistant teacher.
One year in 2015/2016 Saraswathi even let her paint and renew the Puja room in her old family house across from the main shala. Allowing Tara to put her own photos of deities in the room. She would quietly walk by while Tara chanted. “I know she was checking because she never walked through there before. For 6 months each day at dusk I would shower, put on clean clothes and begin the puja that first was taught from Laskshmisha Bhat (the Jois family pujari and chanting / Sanskrit teacher) then to my current teacher for the last 7 years Dr. Vigneshwar Bhat.” Tara continues to tell us.
Tara took her first yoga class in 2004, taught her first yoga class (formally) 6 years later in 2010. Made her first trip to Mysore 9 years ago in January in 2012. After years of practice (Johnny Smith, Tim Miller). Sarawathi Jois told Tara to teach, that is when ‘Tara Mitra Yoga’ was launched in 2016.
2017-2019 — Tara was the Co-owner/yoga therapist, Mysore Gonstead Chiropractic + Wellness with her husband Dr. Rob Lamport in Mysore, India. Her husband also taught yoga anatomy out of the clinic.
Tara began studying more yoga therapy with Lakshmi Ranganathan in 2018. After 1.5 years of pre-study and 2.5 years of intensive daily learnings, she became a Yoga Therapist in the T. Krishnamcharya Tradition on February 28, 2022.
Tara has been studying and using Ayurveda for the last 6 years as the sister science to yoga. Ayurveda works incredibly well when used in conjunction with yoga therapy.
Tara Mitra is an avid learner, and a seeker of pure knowledge and truth. Tara aims to find and practice under teachers that are pure sources of information. Mitra’s teachers today are all humble, kind and knowledgeable practitioners of yoga.
Penelope MacNaughton (my California Mom), R. Sarawathi Jois (Ashtanga Teacher) Nagaraja Rao (Philosophy), O.P. Tiwariji (Pranayama), Dr. Vigneshwar Bhat (philosophy, Vedic Chanting), Saraswathi Vasudevan (Yoga Therapy) Occupation —
Yoga Therapist / International Yoga Teacher Date of Birth: October 08, 1974 Nationality: Canadian/Indian Citizenship: Canada & India Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario Official Website: http://www.taramitrayoga.com Social Media Username: @taramitrayoga Education —
She began to self-study the human mind Psychology in 1994. Tara was at the age of 18 years old. When Tara decided that she can either be a part of the problem in the world or she can make a change, she stayed the course to reprogram from her past childhood pain and trauma. Her spiritual practice and self-discovery started 29 years ago. Prior to that she tried every form of therapy out there until she found yoga, then somatic bodywork, and now studying the deeper nuances of yoga philosophy putting these ideas into action.
Her life has been a series of unwiring and rewiring. Unwiring the pain of the past while learning to love herself, find compassion, and joy within and eventually bringing that into the world. It takes courage to really look at oneself and lot of work but Tara was born with something, some fire or righteousness that knows there is always something greater for us, and for herself. Changing her beliefs through self-care, taking breaks when needed, yoga practice, pranayama, chanting, meditation.
“Most people said I was successful in my previous career. That I had it all, that I left when I was at the top. But what I feel now that I am much more successful, with more peace, time for myself, my family, and being of service through helping others. This to me, is the greatest success. Supporting others through their journey. Creating spaces to heal, grow and restore.” Tara emphasizes.
Chef & Food & Beverage Management at George Brown College Sommelier, International Sommelier Guild, Toronto International Bordeaux Educator – 2006-2009
200hr – TTC, India – Ashtanga Yoga – 2013 20hr Trauma Informed Training, Uprising Yoga 2015 2505 hours – KPJAYI, R. Saraswathi Jois, (first & second series) – 2015-2019 200 hours – Tim Milller, first & second series – 2014- 2016 150 Prayogam – YogaVahni – 2019 850 hours – Yoga Vaidya / Yoga Therapy – 2019-2022 20hr Trauma Sensitive Yoga – July 2021
4 types of Healing modalities that Tara Mitra has studied and used over the years in Mysore, India.
– Angel Healing – 2015 – Munay-ki – 2019 – Reiki – Level 1 – 2019 – Sound healing – 2019
Personal Life –
Married Dr. Rob Lamport in 2017 (a Gonstead Chiropractor, Anatomy Genius and longtime yoga practitioner)
Tara believes that you can change someone’s life in one minute. By telling them you believe in them, but mean it, really mean it.
In 2015-2020 – Several clean-up projects from streets & painting, beaches, and tree planting throughout India. In 2018 – Tara and her husband cleaned a dirty alley that was by their home that was filled with rotting food that the local street dogs and cows were eating garbage daily. They removed all the dirt & plastic and fenced it off. After they planted flowers around the property and had friends come to paint the walls with rangoli. After that, the alley stayed clean. They brightened the neighborhood. And ensured the street dogs and cows had fresh food daily.
Tara teaches a lot of one-on-one classes (viniyoga). The method is focused on reducing pain or tension in a progressive manner. It can be preventative or for overall healing. Tara focuses on the specific symptoms that are causing the discomfort and creates a plan to help reduce those symptoms.
In 2011-2015 – Tara worked with high-risk teens in Sonoma at the Sonoma Valley Teen Centre
Volunteering with Odanadi, creating several Mehdi & Bake Sale Events to raise funds to help the fight against sexual trafficking in India – 4 years
Volunteer for Orphans in Mysore – Teaching Chanting & Bhajans – 6 months
Tara has a deep love for animals. During the years she lived in India she did street dog relief. She fed and helped suffering animals make it to the vet, have meals and be loved.
Reach out to Tara Mitra to change your life —
Instagram – https://instagram.com/taramitrayoga
Twitter – https://twitter.com/taramitrayoga
Facebook – https://facebook.com/taramitrayoga
Website – http://www.taramitrayoga.com